What is “Brand”? And where does it sit within a business?
In my experience, brand is usually some mythical presence guarded by the marketing team.
It’s the colours you use in your collateral, it’s the way you speak on your website, it’s a ‘gentle reminder’ email to the other departments every now and then about “correct tone of voice”.
This is quite a typical way of managing your brand identity, but it doesn’t really scratch the surface of what you can do with your brand.
Your brand is the image your customer has of your business, it’s the values you stand for and the feelings you promote in your customers and employees when they interact with you.
What does this have to do with customer support? Everything.
There’s nothing more frustrating than when a business promotes certain values, but when things go wrong, your experience trying to get a resolution is less than ideal.
But beyond that, when customers feel like they’re part of a brand that they enjoy, it can be the reason your customers choose you over your competitors, and why they keep coming back.
In a recent episode of the support insights podcast, we spoke to sofa pioneers, Snug, about how their 360° brand strategy means customers get a consistent, personable and genuine interaction whether they’re on the website, social media or calling the customer service team.
What could this look like for your business?
If you have a scripted opening when customer service agents answer the phone, or canned responses on live chat, these are already ways you are representing your brand.
It’s always worth having regular collaboration between customer facing departments and brand to make sure you’re aligned as the business evolves.
What this looks like exactly will depend on what your company does, your values, and what experiences you want to create for your customers.
For example, if you’re a luxury retailer like Harrods, your tone of voice and experience is going to be very different to a childrens’ activity centre.
If you want to promote yourself as a fun, energetic brand but you’re talking to your customers in a very formal, dry way, this isn’t cohesive to creating a 360° experience.
Just as if you’re a chain of high-end, posh, 5* restaurants, you wouldn’t send your waiters around on rollerblades. It would make no sense for the customer experience.
Snug explained how they don’t script any of their customer service conversations and encourage agents to be themselves, speak with customers quite informally and encourage genuine conversations.
The result of this is that customers develop a sense of trust and rapport with the agents, and in turn, the agents feel free to be themselves and showcase their personality, promoting a happier environment all around.
What are the benefits?
If you create a consistent tone of voice across different channels, consistent experiences and levels of service, customers will know what to expect each time they interact with your business, whether it’s before, during or after the sales cycle.
Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes you need to return a product or contact support about an issue or get help navigating an element of a platform.
It doesn’t matter how seamless your sales process is, how pretty your website is, how well-worded your mission statement is, if your customer experience when things go wrong doesn’t live up to what your marketing has promised, none of the frills matter.
Other than that, creating branded customer experiences can go beyond the sales journey.
To use Snug as an example again, they explained in their podcast episode, (again, you really should give it a listen), that they are constantly engaging their customer community on social media with compelling content that keeps them top of mind.
They run regular competitions allowing customers to win back the cost of their sofa, they give sneak peeks to new products and they even ask the customers for help naming new colours.
This creates a unique relationship where customers feel invested in the brand, part of the brand.
And it works - Snug have an impressive return rate - and customers who are true raving fans.
So, to summarise:
Think about the values of your business and shout about them.
Create consistent experiences across all channels.
Always collaborate between your departments.
And most importantly, subscribe to the podcast for more weekly insights.